The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Smartly Selling Books Through any Blog Post
If you are a travel blogger who is already a part of a book affiliate program, or looking to market books through your content, this post gives you important tips on how to promote books without having to exclusively write book reviews.
As a travel blogger, you can write about a multitude of things related to travel. You may cover countries, cities, or regions, while focusing on their history, their food, their culture, and so much more. No matter what your topic is, any book you choose to promote should elevate your reader’s travel experience. Start off by breaking down the country, city, or region you are tackling by theme. Look at its tourist attractions, its gastronomy, its culture, its art, etc. As you fragment each destination down into different categories, it will be easier for you to pair each facet with a relevant book. In this article, through the example of Tokyo and Japan, we’ve created a blueprint to help you understand how to promote books through blog posts.
This article is part of a wider series on How to Sell Books without Writing Book Reviews.
If you are blogging about the places you’ve visited, you can recommend:
1. Country or City Travel Guides
Travel guides are the most obvious type of books you can link to your content. You can naturally start off by linking to books published by classic heavyweights Lonely Planet, Wallpaper and Michelin. However, keep in mind that there are a large number of guide books targeting different types of travelers. So even though it is always important to recommend the classics, having more customized recommendations will certainly have a special appeal to your target audience. Whichever guidebooks you do settle on marketing, make sure your choice is in line with your brand identity and content.
For instance, let’s say you are a travel blogger whose niche is travelling on a budget. There are a slew of guide books that tackle this same subject matter. So, if you’ve written a post entitled: 10 Tips to Visit Japan without Blowing through your Savings, you can naturally pair it with something like Super Cheap Japan.
On the other hand, let’s say you are a travel blogger who focuses on geek culture, and you have written a piece about your love for Japanese Manga and Anime, you can pair that post with Tokyo Geek's Guide. This travel guide highlights iconic stores, restaurants, clubs and cafes that are center-points for local Manga fans in Tokyo, which is sure to get your audience excited about their trip.
2. Coffee table books
Coffee table books are a great genre to market through your content because they provide your readers with a taste of any destination you are discussing. This is particularly relevant to travel bloggers who are referenced for their breathtaking images. There is a picture book to illustrate every part of any country, from its art, to its food, fashion and architecture. When making your selection, choose the book that compliments your content the best.
So let’s say, you’re a travel photographer, who specializes in taking pictures of urban landscapes abroad. A post about the blend of modern and traditional architecture in Tokyo can be coupled with an Assouline’s coffee table book that pays homage to this metropolis’ architecture: The Light of Tokyo.
Similarly, a travel blogger, whose expertise lies in the coverage of a destination's art and fashion scenes, can link their content to a slew of coffee table books. For instance, a feature analyzing street fashion in Tokyo can be linked to: Fruits by Aoki Shoichi. Or, a listicle of the ten best contemporary art museums in Tokyo can be linked to The Octopus Eats its own Leg, a coffee table book exhibiting the work of contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
If you are blogging about the food you’ve eaten abroad, you can recommend:
Food is a central part of any travel experience as it embodies part of a country’s culture in a meal. It is important to consider linking your content back to cookbooks, whether you’ve written restaurant reviews, foodie guides, or listicles. This category of books is especially interesting for travel food bloggers, who are specialized in food recommendations. Keeping with the Tokyo example, let’s say you have put together a listicle detailing the 10 Best Sushi Restaurants in Tokyo. This post can be paired with a numerous of Sushi cookbooks, which will allow your readers to recreate the experience of Japan in the comfort of their own home.
With that being said, no matter what your positioning is, you can still promote cookbooks through any type of content. For example, if you have written an article that describes A Day in Tokyo, in which you mention the delicious ramen you had for dinner, you can link that article to any number of ramen cookbooks.
2. Food themed travel guides
You can link all sorts of articles and features to food travel guides. Independently of what your positioning is, food-themed travel guides are always an easy sell. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more generic, listing a global range of different restaurant recommendations, like Food Sake Tokyo, while others have a more niche theme, like Tokyo Street Food.
These books are a particularly great way for you to expand on your restaurant reviews and listicles. So let’s say, you have assembled a list of your favorite ramen restaurants in Tokyo. This list can be paired with a food guide that focuses on other establishments that serve good ramen, like Tokyo Ramen Perfect Guidebook, which will allow your readers to discover restaurants beyond your list. Alternatively, if you have written a review of a bar in Tokyo, you can link it to a guide that maps out the must-see bars and must-taste cocktails, like Drinking Japan.
If you are blogging about the cultural attractions you’ve seen, you can recommend:
1. History books
Linking your content to history books is a great way to elevate any article you write, as it can help provide context for whatever destination you are discussing. Depending on the angle of your blog posts, you can propose a number of history books that cover specific time periods, particular events, or even particular customs, traditions and mythologies.
Let’s look at an example: if you are travel blogger who likes to hone in on traditions and culture, there are interesting historical books that will be sure to appeal to your audience. So let’s say you’ve written a longform article about Geishas. This piece of editorial content can be coupled with a book that recounts the Geisha’s history. The Nightless City and YoshiwaraGeishas, Courtesans, and the Pleasure Quarter of Old Tokyo are just a couple of such books.
Alternatively, let’s say you are a blogger who focuses more on popular touristic spots like memorials, museums, landmarks and landscapes. These attractions can be linked back to informative books that recount their history. For instance, a feature about The Yushukan War Memorial Museum in Tokyo, can be linked to historical books explaining the various wars experienced by Japan. A great book to consider is Shadow of a Monster Plane that tells the tale of Tokyo during World War II. If the monuments discussed are visually enticing, don’t be afraid to also couple them with equally appealing picture books.
2. Art critique & culture-themed books
Just like food, art and cultural activities are one of the main tourist attractions to any destination. For anyone who is not an art expert, knowing which museums and galleries to visit, and which cultural events to keep an eye out for might be difficult. On the other end, hardcore art enthusiasts are always looking to expand their knowledge on the subject. So if this falls in your usual posting spectrum, make sure to promote art critique and culture themed books, as they will be sure to interest any number of your readers.
Let’s break it down, an article that maps out an the best art galleries in Tokyo can be linked books like: See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now, and Art Space Tokyo: An Intimate Guide to the Tokyo Art World. This selection will provide your readers with useful information and an in depth analysis of the Tokyo art scene.
A country’s artistic heritage casts a wide net, which namely includes its music and cinema. This is particularly interesting for bloggers who bring together travel and pop culture. Let’s say you’ve assembled a listicle on the 10 Best Horror-Centric Cinemas in Tokyo, you can easily link this post to The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films that covers virtually every horror film made in Japan.
If you are blogging about fascinating stories that have happened in a destination, you can recommend:
A great way to get to know a city is through the people who have inhabited it before you. Don’t be afraid to recommend any number of biographies whenever you’re recounting your trips as this can help your readers discover the city through the eyes of one of the people who left their mark on it.
From politicians to musicians, artists, architects, to athletes, and even business men, the list of biographies you can pair your content with is endless. The trick is finding a celebrity that will either compliment the topic at hand or provide your followers with a fresh point of view to get them excited. Let’s go back to the piece on Japanese architecture mentioned above, you can link this post to famed Asian architect Jun'ichirō Tanizaki’s memoir: Childhood Years.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re working on an article dedicated to Famous Japanese rulers and you mention Emperor Meiji’s reign on that list, make sure to take advantage of this opportunity and promote his self titled biography: Emperor of Japan Meiji and His World.
A great way for your readers to discover the feel of a destination is through novels that take place in said destination. These books have the power to speak volumes of the history, mindset and culture that shape a society. Your choice of novel will depend on your topic du jour. For example, as mentioned above, if you have written an article about Geishas, you can of course link that to the famed novel Memoirs of a Geisha. Alternatively, a post covering the various monuments in Tokyo dedicated to the Japanese royal family can be paired with The Tale of Genji, a story of a young prince during Japan’s Golden Era. Even though these novels are not based on real events, they provide great insight on Japanese culture and society.
In that same vein, you can also market books by authors who are from the city you are talking about. In regards to Tokyo, there are a number of authors who hail from the city, like Natsuo Kirino, Kafū Nagai, and Yukio Mishima. Each of these writers have created a catalogue of work that could be seamlessly linked to different types of content, from listicles, to guides, and features. So let’s say you have written an article detailing gay culture in Tokyo. This article can be coupled with books with homosexual protagonists, like Tokyo’s own Yukio Mishima’s novel Confessions of a Mask that also provides great insights about post World War II Japan.
Keep in mind, fiction is not limited to literary novels. There are a great number of insightful comic books from various countries. For instance, you would be amiss if your coverage of Japan and Tokyo did not include mangas. With that being said, you can promote mangas by getting your readers in the mood before their trip with an articles similar to: 5 mangas you need to read before your trip to Japan.
If You are blogging about preparing for a trip, you can recommend:
1. Learning a language
There is a lot of logistics that go into planning a trip: from booking your flights and hotel, to actually figuring out how to move around in a foreign city. There are specialized books that provide readers with useful tips to tackle any logistical obstacle a trip throws at them.
One type is language books, which are useful to any reader who is planning to visit a foreign country, or who is just interested in learning a new language. Keep in mind, there are a great number of language books you can recommend that vary according to lifestyles and interests. For example, if you are a travel blog that specializes in writing detailed travel itineraries for your busy readership, you can link to language books like Japanese For Busy People 1: Romanized Version. Alternatively, you might be a blogger whose audience base is interested in comic books and mangas. If that is the case, you can recommend the language book: Japanese the Manga Way.
2. Logistical Travel Guides
There are different types of trips people can take: from backpacking and camping, to stays in luxurious hotels. Depending on the type of vacation you are discussing, there are a bunch of guide books that provide travellers with important tips and tricks to enjoy their vacation. The ones you will ultimately market to your readers will depend on the type of blogger you are. For example, getting around Tokyo can be difficult because of the language barrier, and the sheer size of the metropolis. So pairing your Tokyo content with Getting Around Tokyo Pocket Atlas and Transportation Guide will give your readers the much needed assistance in getting around the city. On the other hand, a travel blogger whose main topic is family vacations can link to books with tips on how to travel with kids. The Lonely Planet guide Travel With Children is a great example.
If you are blogging about travelling with a family, you can recommend:
Promoting books for children is a no brainer as this helps parents get their kids excited for their upcoming trip by teaching them about their destination. The books you market will have to vary according to different age groups. For instance, you can pair an article entitled A Tokyo Guide for the Kids aged 4 to 6 with children’s books that explain the history of the city like, My Awesome Japan Adventure. Alternatively, you can also link to children’s books set in Tokyo like: I Live in Tokyo, or Dodsworth in Tokyo. Now if your audience’s children tend to be teens or tweens, you can recommend young adult books that are based in Tokyo, like Diary of a Tokyo Teen.
You don’t have to limit yourself to children’s books about the destination you are talking about. For instance, let’s say you have written a family guide to Tokyo, and you know that the majority of your readership live in New York City. As such, your readers will have a long trip ahead of them, not an easy feat to overcome with children. So you can link your guide to Tokyo with a slew of children books that can distract your reader’s children on the way there. You can even recommend children’s books for your kids who are about to take the plane for the first time, like: Airplane Flight! A Lift-the-Flap Adventure and Flight 1-2-3.
No matter what travel destination you are covering, and the approach you take on, you have the ability to link your content to a multitude of books. Take this article as a starting point on how to market books through your travel-related content. Start by breaking down the country you are covering by topic and boom: You’re good to go! All that’s left to do is find a book that will get your readers excited about their trip, expand their cultural knowledge, or lend them a helping hand when needed. Happy travels, and don’t forget to make this process your own.
If you would like to learn more about how to market books through your content, check out this article, and the rest of the articles in our series including: The Food Blogger’s Guide to Smartly Selling Books Through any Blog Post.